Origin of the Easter DayStrange enough the name of celebration has its origin in two pagan traditions namely Ostara and Ishtar. Ostara was the Saxon goddess of dawn and spring. It is wothwile mentioning that the word for the "female hormone" estrogen derives from her name. Ishtar, however, was a Babylonian and Assyrian goddess of love and war.
SymbolsOstara was a goddess of fertility who brought the end of winter, with the days brighter and growing longer after the vernal equinox. She had a passion for new life. The presence of Ostara was felt in the flowering of plants and the birth of animal and human babies. Because of all this , rabbits and eggs were used as symbols for rebirth and the resurection of Jesus by Christians.
The legendThere is a famous Anglo-Saxon legend associated with the goddess Ostara. The legend says that the goddess turned her pet bird, whom she saved when its wings had been frozen by the snow, into a rabbit (and a lover in some versions of the story). She also made the rabbit able to lay colorful eggs in order to entertain the children.
Easter Bunny and Egg HuntBecause eggs and rabitts symobolize fertility, they xere used by Christians to celebrate Easter day. Two customs emerged from thse two symbols: Easter Bunny and Easter hunt.
- Esater Bunny is depicted as a creature who brings a basket full of colored eggs on the night before Easter and hides it somewhere in the house or garden for the children to find when they wake up in the morning.
- Egg Hunt is another custom associated with Easter Day. It is a game during which decorated eggs, real hard-boiled ones or artificial, filled with or made of chocolate candies, of various sizes, are hidden in various places for children to find. The game may be both indoors and outdoors.
The customs in the churchAccording to the traditions, Easter Sunday is celebrated by:
- Taking part in an Easter vigil,
- Lighting a new fire outside the church early on Sunday morning,
- Lighting the Paschal candle and decorating it with studs to celebrate Christ's wounds,
- Chanting of the easter proclamation,
- Reading the old testament,
- Singing hymns and wishing happy Easter Day.